Matt Inman is having a very good year.
Best known for his slapstick cynical website, The Oatmeal, Inman has fought (and won) a lawsuit and raised more than $1 million to create a Nikola Tessla museum in New York. On Thursday, Inman returns to Seattle after a whirlwind book tour, to read and sign his latest book “How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You.” Fans can check him out for free at the University Bookstore in the U District at 7 p.m. We caught up with Inman to talk about comics, cats and his thriving career.
Where do you get your inspiration? And why cats?
I’ve found that cats are a great source of comedy. They are like these little portable serial killers living with us. I’ve written a comic that explains one out of three cats actually go out and kill things at night. I don’t have any cats right now, I have a dog. But, I’ve had tons of cats growing up. They are just a good source of comedy.
I have a cat and a lot of your comics resonate with me. Why do you think cats are so crazy?
They are really just wild animals. We go to the zoo and check out the big cats, and they do everything out pet cats do. You want to just get in the pen with them, but they would probably rip your intestines out and jump rope with them.
According to your comic "How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill you?" my cat has done seven out of nine things. Should I be worried?
Good luck with your kitty, I suppose.
You’ve helped raise money for several causes - the Tesla museum and raising/donating money for charity after the FunnyJunk lawsuit debacle. You met these financial goals and then some. What it's like to see the outpouring from your fan base when you need it?
It’s a good surprise. People on the internet can be generous with comments and intangible clicks. But, seeing people become interested in building a museum, to pay money for one, is amazing to see. It’s really just a testament to people in general. Tesla has really become a hero on the internet. He is a hero of mine. How often do you get the opportunity to do something like this for your hero? Raising this money for his museum has been the apex of my career, which makes me happy and depressed at the same time.
What’s it like to have a personal blog take off and become a career?
It’s great. I feel like I was misguided a lot of years as what I was supposed to be doing. The jobs I’ve had seemed good for me, but I was always miserable. I had to tell myself that my work was creatively rewarding, when it really wasn’t. It’s easy to creatively test out a career on the internet because the playing field is leveled. I don’t have to be a newspaper-syndicated cartoonist to get my stuff out there.
What are some lessons you’ve learned while writing this book?
I don’t write things on a schedule. I only draw when I’m feeling creative. It’s not popular for people who are on a schedule but, it works for me.
What’s next? Maybe move to LA, start a ‘Bobcats’ animated series?
I would love to do animations or a TV series. I have another book coming out next year, and I’m writing a children’s book. I really only have a couple more years of comics in me, and then I think I’ll lose my spirit.